Sen. David Frockt (Vice Chair Senate Ways and Means Committee) and Rep. Drew Stokesbary (Ranking Member, House Appropriations Committee) agree that Washington State’s health care sector needs more investment, though they have different perspectives on how to pay for it.
As the legislators were discussing post-pandemic economic stability at a panel session Wednesday, they each offered their position on Gov. Inslee’s “covered lives assessment.”
I was pretty concerned about the governor’s proposal to levy a tax on health insurance. On the marketplace and in the small business pool, carriers are required to pass those taxes along to consumers in the rate setting process. So it is a direct tax on the cost of care that people will pay out of pocket. When we are spending all of our effort trying to identify ways to make health care more affordable, I really fail to understand why somebody would think it’s a great idea to explicitly make health care more expensive,” said Stokesbary.
Gov. Inslee’s biennial budget proposal calls for an assessment on health insurers, Medicaid managed care organizations, limited health services contractors, and third-party administrators that would start in March 2022.